The Birth of SPNHS
Sapang Palay National High School was created by the virtue of Republic Act 5222 sponsored by Hon. Rogaciano M. Mercado. On July 1, 1971, the symbolic laying of the cornerstone was held in the area of what is now known as "Titanic."
Eight hectares of undulating land in Area E were turned over by the Philippine Housing and Homesite Corporation to the Department of Education for the School site. Witnesses to this historic inauguration were the outgoing Division Superintendent Jose Cruz and the incoming Dr. Felicita G. Bernardino, Bureau of Public Schools Director Clodualdo Leocadio, San Jose Del Monte Municipal officials and some civic leaders.
Originally, the school was to be put up in Area D, but Tata Nano Elfa, the Barangay chairman at the time, objected to this proposal and insisted that this school he advocated for be established in its present site. Like a flickering candle in the dark, the nativity of SPNHS was gladly welcomed by the Sapang Palayans who had an ardent desire for education.
Mr. Jorge Evangelista was the officer-in-charge. When Ms. Borcena was reinstated in 1973, more classrooms were built through the RP-US Bayanihan constructions. But the school buildings couldn't still sufficiently accommodate the growing population. Therefore, classes at UST continued.
As the years passed, the more structures sprouted throughout the campus: a garden house which served as a seed bank, a propagation area and a store room, three learning kiosks for vocational classes and a cosmetology building and an industrial building for laboratory shops.
In the late seventies, SPNHS became a benchmark of beauty for other schools to emulate as gardens bloomed along the asphalted avenue. The street lights and the model Orchard along the school avenue, a few examples of well-thought of projects of Ms. Borcena and her teachers, are an addition to the school's dazzling look.
In 1980, the SPNHS Canteen/Activity Center was constructed. This magnum opus of architect Jose Donato measuring some 560 square meters includes a stage, a dining area three comfort rooms, a function room, a helper's quarters and a "dirty kitchen" which continue to serve their purpose to this day.
The Parent-Teacher Association also did their share in making the school a fine home for their children. They helped in installing drinking and washing facilities and in putting up the stage, the school main gate and facade.
After almost a decade, this rugged hill turned into a learning institution marked by beauty and gaiety. Every inch was a sight to be relished especially the lighted thoroughfare where one could enjoy vicariously the splendor of Luneta Park in Manila. Therefore, in 1980 the school was awarded the Regional Model School Award by MEC Region III Director Robinson Ylagan. The following year, the school was again the recipient of the Model School Award, a proof of beauty that was maintained even by the passing of time and a leadership that cannot be surpassed.
Moreover, SPNHS became a shibboleth not only for physical beauty but also for excellence. If you are a bright teen, then you must be an SPNHS student. In many instances, the school proved it can lord over in various academic, sports and skill competitions as the SPeans then settled second to none.
Also in 1981, Mr. Edward M. Kelly, founder of Assumption Sapang Palay College, helped the construction of the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament so that Masses can be held inside the school on a regular basis. This chapel served not only as a landmark but also an argument in developing among the students' Christian values.
As the enrollment increased, Ms. Borcena accelerated her effort to provide for the students the facilities they needed for their studies. The school library, the science laboratory and the Karunungang Pantahanan Building, fronted with beautiful gardens, were deliberately put up alongside each other to motivate students to develop the winning attitude of a scholar.
The Department Centers, a beautiful creation of Mrs. Borcena, don't only bind teachers of the same subject area but also provide homey convenience to teachers while at school.
In 1990, the two-story DECS Building beside the chapel was inaugurated to serve as the hatchery of the school's would-be scientists and mathematicians as the first science high school broke ground.
But even good leadership must also end. In 1991, Ms. Borcena retired from the service after 20 years of hard work and perseverance for her sole lovethis school.
Mr. Cruz Takes Over
When Ms. Borcena retired in 1991, the Head Teacher of the Technology and Home Economics (THE) Department took over as officer-in-charge (OIC). Even then, Mr. Cruz already proved his ability to lead the school even without the veteran Ms. Borcena around.
During his term as OIC, two SPNHS students made names in Central Luzon as each took home hoards and medals form their respective competitions. Who could forget Edison Daclis? He is probably the most successful athlete this school has ever had. What about Manuel Payumo? He is the first SPNHS who won in the National School Press Conference (NSPC). Their success would not have been possible without their trainors and Mr. Cruz who emphasized the value of discipline and hard work.
Though Mr. Cruz' term as OIC was short, he made sure he had a legacy to leave. The covered walk along avenue is just one of them; there were more which up to these days benefit the school.
The Rise of Many Structures
In 1992, Dr. Epifanio Reyes was installed principal of SPNHS.
Many thought, at first he was a stern leader but he proved them otherwise. He was a leader of unparalleled kindness. He was a gentleman. During his term, school buildings grew like mushrooms. Just in time that the population was skyrocketing, more classrooms were provided in just a strike of Dr. Reyes' rod.
The former sawali was replaced with a gigantic two-story building courtesy of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS). This structure is capable of accommodating two classes or even nine if its large veranda is also to be used as the need arises. It also has two rest rooms of its own located at the entrance. Three more (DECS) Buildings followed suit in order to meet the problem of deficient classrooms.
As though Dr. Reyes hasn't put up enough classrooms, he added 11 more by tapping the support of the farmer Senator Blas Ople who donated not just one or two but four buildings.
Another former senator likewise donated a two-story building composed of four classrooms. The Neptali Gonzales building is not just a showpiece of Dr. Reyes but also a towering home of learners built at the back of RP-US Bayanihan building.
While dreams are free for everybody only few can turn their dreams to concrete reality. Not the least of these few is Dr. Reyes under whose term the school gym was built. An endowment from Congressman Angelito M. Sarmiento, the school gym show boasts its capacity to lodge thousand of heads. It has wooden bleachers, two rest rooms and a stage that functions dually as the platform of the gym inside and grandstand of the makeshift oval outside.
The gracious congressman likewise put up the two-story Sarmiento buildings both with eight beside the Values Education Department Center.
That's not all. Adding to Dr. Reyes' collection of structures are the two-story Josie Dela Cruz Building classrooms each and the C-Room.
Beauty is not only eye-friendly but also conducive to learning. Guided by this principle, the department centers landscaped their own educational parks and gardens that are not only panoramic to flying insects but also edifying to students.
The new guidance office, a consistent outstanding implementer of National Drug Educational Program (NDEP) in Region III, was put up near the GATE 1 to be more accessible to students and parents. Its eye-catching presence and affable guidance counselors invite its clients to transact business in a nice way. While the need for more facilities was being met, the school showed lackluster in certain areas. Many teachers observed the sudden quietness that the school manifested. As one supervisor commented, "Your silence became our advantage."
In 2002, the well-loved Dr. Reyes bade adieu to the school which had been the love of his life for ten years. But even to his last days in school, he still thought of its welfare. Thus, before he went away, he left his last piece of legacythe Mercedes van.
The Rebirth of Interest
When Mr. Eduardo V. Cruz was reinstated principal in April 2002, there was an unbelievable rebirth of interest in SPNHS. Call it a Renaissance. That's the word so aptly to be used to describe the magnificent change that transpired with the coming of a very promising leader. That time, the school was already under the division of the San Jose Del Monte City under the stewardship of Dr. Edna S. Zerrudo.
As a returnee, Mr. Cruz knew too well what the school needed in order to fully come out from its cocoonmodern facilities and equipment and full support in all its undertakings. These he inched providing, without if's or but's. Accordingly, this school known as the sleeping giant of San Jose Del Monte rose from a deep slumber to be one of the most acclaimed schools in the country.
More Progress Steps In
In the first four years, the school made significant developments in terms of the physical facilities and equipment. How Mr. Cruz was able to achieve that is out of the question. He simply is one every resourceful principal.
In June 2002, the Gate 2 was opened to allow the students to have safer entry and easier access to their classrooms, and the carport beside the model orchard was put up for the efficient safekeeping of the school vehicles.
The same year, Mr. Cruz charged the Supreme Student Government (SSG) with the construction of the covered walk with a yardstick measuring some 180 meters from Gate 2 to the Filipino Department. Since it was a bigger project, the biggest ever, SSG officers of 2002 headed by SSG president Carlo Macalalag had to pass the baton of responsibility of finishing the project to the succeeding SSG administrations with Janna Marie Doyac and Manrie Muyong as presidents. The project, overseen by Mr. Ananias Dicdican and Mr. Joel Camero, was eventually completed in 2004.
Moreover, the covered walk was not SSG's only legacy to the school. With Mr. Cruz at the hem, another project materialized in 2005 under the leadership of her daughter Ma. Eileen Belle G. Cruz, SSG president. The Student Center, located behind the Science Building, is complete with furniture and equipment of its own. This facility caters convenience to various affairs of the students. It also serves as the office of the SSG.
A computer nowadays is a necessity. Therefore, every office and department center should have at least a set to allow both teachers and students to cope with the demands of information communication technology. On his first year in SPNHS, Mr. Cruz started accumulating computers for the school. With aid of the Parents-Teachers-Community Association (PTCA) which he resurrected, some government officials and agency, his effort to acquire more computers was sustained and given realization. The PTCA under the headship of Mr. Rolando Yawton, president, provided 30 computers. Mayor Angelito M. Sarmiento also gave his share of 20 computers. Other government officials who endowed computers for the school were Governor Josie M. Dela Cruz, 4 units; Congressman Eduardo V. Roquero, 2 units; another solon, Congressman Mar Colet of Alagad Party-list, 2 units. The department of Education likewise gave the school 11 units and the Department of Trade and Industry 20 units.
To date, the school brags a total of 102 computers, the most number that a learning institution in the city private or public has, and in a very short time. While the legendary sampaloc tree still stands, classes are no longer held under its canopy. With the establishment of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Building in 2004, classroom shortage brought about by the ballooning student population was alleviated. Composed of eight spacious classrooms and a science laboratory complete with furnishing and comfort rooms of its own, this structure is no doubt the finest, biggest and the most modern ever put up in SPNHS and is a real big help to many teachers and students.
In the summer of 2004, the construction of the multi-purpose building, a project of Congressman Eduardo V. Roquero, began. This multi-million facility is the outcome of Mr. Cruz's persistence to the congressman to help the school have its own.
As an athlete himself, Mr. Cruz understands the plight of not having enough sports facilities. This he never let unattended. Therefore in 2004, the sepak takraw court was put up and a year after, the volleyball court in front of JICA Building broke ground. With Mr. Cruz's optimism, an oval is a dream not farfetched.
"Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink," thus commented one thirsty student.
Well, not anymore these days. Just last March, a water fountain was installed through the help of the Rotary Club to provide students with lavish free safe and potable drinking water.
The Sapang Palay National High school Multi-Purpose cooperative (SPNHS MPC) is a wealthy source of help SPNHS teachers and employees. To augment its income, Mr. Cruz suggested the reopening of the former school bakery in July 2005, and as expected, it turned out a real lucrative business. In a few months' time, the SPNHS-MPC will see another fruit of its labor-the three story building soon to be SPNHS-MPC office which is now underwaya brainchild of Mr. Cruz.
While the arrival of new facilities seemed unstoppable, the care of the old structures was never forsaken. The rich heritage of the past administration is a treasure to him that must be taken care of. Every year, Mr. Cruz launches and supports efforts that aim to refurbish the school property. One of which is the Brigada Eskwela which gave way to a better looking SPNHS.
Back in the Limelight
Supportive principal plus dedicated and competent teachers equals successful SPNHS students. That has been the school's secret in climbing the pinnacle of its success over the last four years.
Proofs of these are the school's acclaimed national and regional winners in various contests.
In 2003, Jesser Morales, associate editor of the Pillar, broke the long silence of SPNHS in the prestigious National School Press Conference (NSPC) when he clinched 10th place in news writing after beating 102 other student journalists. The following years, Ang Suhay bagged two awards in the bracket B of the group contest in NSPC as fourth best sports page and tenth best news page. Sisters Angelique and Janna Marie Doyac, former the Pillar editors, along with a student from the Jesus Is Lord college (JILC) likewise won in NSPC as third placer in the quiz show, an additional feather in the cap of SPNHS.
Also in 2003, Mark Pajo copped first place in dish gardening in the National Student Technologist and Entrepreneurs of Philippines (NSTEP) to be the School's first champion in the said event. This feat in NSTEP was duplicated after a year when Arnold Almelia and Runnel Bonifacio bagged the third place in masonry plastering.
Also in the last four years, the school has perennially sent countless campus journalist, young technologist and entrepreneurs and athletes who are mostly regional champions in the national level. The volleyball team composed mainly of SPNHS students, for instance, was two-time champion in the Central Luzon Regional Athletics Association (CLRAA). The SPNHS Athletic Team brought home the bacon from both CLRAA and MILO Marathon, thus adding flavor to the already aromatic name of SPNHS. Not mention the innumerable recognitions the school has won from division level competitions. These and many more speak of the excellence of the SPNHS teachers and students under the dynamic leadership of Mr. Cruz.
SPNHS hosts 3 regional events
Who could forget the challenge of hosting the Regional NAMCYA last October 2002 which the school bravely accepted? The School barely had time to prepare as the hosting of NAMCYA was announced two months before its date. But the indomitable Mr. Cruz, who was on his fourth month in school as the principal, never said surrender, instead, he utilized his men, and together, they put their best feet forward the stage their best hosting performance. Consequently, all praises and thanks were given to the school for the job that was so well done.
In 2005, the school was again host of two consecutive regional events. The Regional Training for School Paper advisers and Journalists held in August and the Regional Schools Press Conference (RSPC) in November which it co-hosted tested once again the school's capacity as a host which it did pass with flying colors as both events came to a happy end.
The school has also been the venue of many other division level competitions and affairs. One of which is the Grand Alumni Homecoming of SPNHS. Graduates from 1974-1999 flocked to the school gym last May 2005 to express their support to the school and to have a chitchat with old friends and classmates. One of those who attend is Vice Mayor Rey San Pedro who is really a pride of this school.
"We build pyramids but finish like jewelers"
Under the baton of Mr. Cruz, students are constantly being molded and trained to be best, able to soar high to achieve the far reaches of their dreams.
Talented teachers are welcomed and given chance to prove their knack and promotions to deserving mentors come like blessings form heaven.
No doubt that SPNHS is alive again. The glory of SPNHS is back, and Mr. Cruz made it so.
How long this glory will last is a challenge posed to everyone. But looking back, the last four years was a job well done. Pyramids were built and all work was finished like jewelers do.
As the school moves onward after its 35th year, new mission comes to a surgeto be an institution of life-long learning.